Content-type: text/html Man page of write


Section: User Commands (1)
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write - Sends messages to other users  


write [-r] [-n node] user [line]

write [email protected] [line]

write -h handle,reply

write -q [-n node]

The write command allows you to converse with another user who is logged in.

[Compaq]  The write -r command allows you to send messages to users on other hosts (usually from a shell script) and to wait for replies; use write -h to reply to such messages.


Interfaces documented on this reference page conform to industry standards as follows:

write:  XPG4, XPG4-UNIX

Refer to the standards(5) reference page for more information about industry standards and associated tags.


[Compaq]  Replies to a message sent by a utility or shell script with write -r. The value to be used for handle is generated internally and supplied to you in the text of the original message.

[Compaq]  The reply can be ok, cancel, or query. (See EXAMPLES and EXIT STATUS.) [Compaq]  Specifies a remote host. The node field may be a nickname or a node ID. This option is used in place of the [email protected] argument; the two cannot be specified together. [Compaq]  Queries all messages awaiting replies from users on a node and displays them with their handles. [Compaq]  Generates a message handle, places it in the message header, sends the message, and waits for a reply. This option can be used for operator messages and can be put in shell scripts. It is not used for interactive conversations. (See EXAMPLES and EXIT STATUS).


Login name of the user with whom you wish to converse. This operand is in the form written by the who utility.

[Compaq]  You may append an optional @node if the user is on a different host. The format of @node is as much of the remote hostname and domainname as may be required by your system. The terminal identification of the terminal where the other user is logged in. You only need to specify this parameter if the other user has several sessions operating on the target host. See DESCRIPTION for a further explanation.


When two users converse with write, each user alternately sends and receives short messages from their respective terminals.

[Compaq]  For another user to receive your message, that user must be logged in and must not have refused message permission. When a person you are trying to reach is not logged in, you get the message user is not logged on. When the person you are trying to reach has refused message permission, you get the message Write: Permission denied.

When you run the write command, it immediately sends the following message to the person whose login name you entered.

Message from sender on node (ttynn) [date]...

[Compaq]  The message is accompanied by attention-getting sound (three ASCII BEL characters).

After successful connection, the write command then sends two ASCII BEL characters to your terminal to alert you that whatever you enter now is being sent to the other user. Sending continues until you enter the End-of-File key sequence, at which point write sends an End-of-Text sequence to the other terminal and exits.

At any point, the other user can respond by sending a write message back.

[Compaq]  For this type of exchange, the following convention is useful. When you first write to others, wait for them to write back before sending any text. End a message with a prearranged signal (such as o for over) to alert the other user to reply.

[Compaq]  If the ! (exclamation point) character is found at the beginning of an input line, write calls the shell to execute the rest of the line as a command.

When you use the write command to contact a user logged in at more than one terminal, write uses the first login instance found in the /var/adm/utmp file as the message delivery point, and you get the message:

user is logged on more than one place. You are connected to tty. Other locations are: tty ...

You can contact this user at another location by specifying the line. The parameter line indicates to which terminal (tty00, for example) the message should be sent.

Permission to use the write command to contact another user is granted or denied by the other user with the mesg command. Some commands deny message permission while they are running to prevent interference with their output.

[Compaq]  If you have superuser authority, you can write to any terminal regardless of the terminal's message permission.

[Compaq]  The write command filters nonprintable characters and transmits them in their printed form (that is, ASCII sequence 001 is transmitted as ^A).

[Compaq]  When the write -r command is used to send you a message, you can send a reply of ok, cancel, or query with write -h. (See OPTIONS, EXAMPLES and EXIT STATUS).

[Compaq]  An argument of a - (dash) following the write command allows you to specify a specific terminal to which you want to write as the second argument.

Typing characters from LC_TYPE classifications print or space causes those characters to be sent to the recipient's terminal.


The talk utility is considered to be a more usable utility on full-screen terminals.


[Compaq]  The writesrv daemon must be running on the target host in order for any of the options to work. If you are not using either the -n option or @host, but using -h, -q, or -r, the writesrv daemon must be running on your host.

[Compaq]  See writesrv(8) for information on how to start or stop the writesrv daemon.


[Compaq]  The write -r command is used to send messages to users and to wait for replies. Their responses determine the exit value: [Compaq]  Exit status 0 (zero). [Compaq]  Exit status 1. [Compaq]  Message for handle redisplays; write does not exit.

An exit status of 2 indicates that the user could not be contacted.


The following examples assume that the End-of-File key sequence is <Ctrl-d>. The actual key sequence may be different. lucy on tty3 writes a message to sue on the same node: write sue Meet me in the computer room at 12:30. <Ctrl-d>

sue sees: Message from lucy on node (tty3) [Thu Aug 17 11:55:24 1990] Meet me in the computer room at 12:30. <EOT> Holding a conversation: write sue Meet me in the computer room at 12:30. over
lucy then waits for a response from sue, who replies: write lucy I'm running tests at 12:30. Can we meet at 3? over
sue then waits for lucy, who replies and terminates: OK--the computer room at 3. bye <Ctrl-d>
sue then terminates their side of the conversation. To write someone a prepared message, enter: write sue <message.text
This writes the contents of the file message.text to sue's terminal. To write to the person using a certain terminal, enter: write - console The printer in building 998 has jammed. Please send help. <Ctrl-d>
This writes the message to the person logged in on the system console. To send a message to user sue at node, enter: write -n node sue
or write [email protected] To get a reply to a message, lucy might enter the following: write -r sue console Please insert next tape.
sue terminates lucy's message with write -h 12345,ok <Ctrl-d>
or write -h 12345,cancel
or write -h 12345,query
sue then terminates as usual.
Note that with the -h option, there is no need to supply the hostname or user ID.


The following environment variables affect the execution of write: Provides a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or null. If LANG is unset or null, the corresponding value from the default locale is used. If any of the internationalization variables contain an invalid setting, the utility behaves as if none of the variables had been defined. If set to a non-empty string value, overrides the values of all the other internationalization variables. Determines the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multibyte characters in arguments). If the recipient's locale does not use an equivalent LC_CTYPE, the results are undefined. Determines the locale for the format and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error. Determines the location of message catalogues for the processing of LC_MESSAGES.


Contains user and accounting information.


Commands:  mesg(1), login(1), sh(1b), sh(1p), talk(1), wall(1), who(1), writesrv(8)

Files:  utmp(4)

Standards:  standards(5)




This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 02:42:57 GMT, October 02, 2010